Skeletal muscle as a target of LXR agonist after long-term treatment: focus on lipid homeostasis

Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2014 Mar 1;306(5):E494-502. doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.00410.2013. Epub 2013 Dec 24.


The liver X receptors (LXR)α and LXRβ are transcription factors belonging to the nuclear receptor family, which play a central role in metabolic homeostasis, being master regulators of key target genes in the glucose and lipid pathways. Wild-type (WT), LXRα(-/-), and LXRβ(-/-) mice were fed a chow diet with (treated) or without (control) the synthetic dual LXR agonist GW3965 for 5 wk. GW3965 raised intrahepatic triglyceride (TG) level but, surprisingly, reduced serum TG level through the activation of serum lipase activity. The serum TG reduction was associated with a repression of both catecholamine-stimulated lipolysis and relative glucose incorporation into lipid in isolated adipocytes through activation of LXRβ. We also demonstrated that LXRα is required for basal (nonstimulated) adipocyte metabolism, whereas LXRβ acts as a repressor of lipolysis. On the contrary, in skeletal muscle (SM), the lipogenic and cholesterol transporter LXR target genes were markedly induced in WT and LXRα(-/-) mice and to a lesser extent in LXRβ(-/-) mice following treatment with GW3965. Moreover, TG content was reduced in SM of LXRβ(-/-) mice, associated with increased expression of the main TG-lipase genes Hsl and Atgl. Energy expenditure was increased, and a switch from glucose to lipid oxidation was observed. In conclusion, we provide evidence that LXR might be an essential regulator of the lipid balance between tissues to ensure appropriate control of the flux of fuel. Importantly, we show that, after chronic treatment with GW3965, SM becomes the target tissue for LXR activation, as opposed to liver, in acute treatment.

Keywords: lipid; liver X receptor; metabolism; skeletal muscle.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipocytes / drug effects*
  • Adipocytes / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Benzoates / pharmacology
  • Benzylamines / pharmacology
  • Cholesterol / metabolism
  • Female
  • Homeostasis / drug effects*
  • Homeostasis / physiology
  • Lipid Metabolism / drug effects*
  • Lipid Metabolism / physiology
  • Lipolysis / drug effects
  • Lipolysis / physiology
  • Liver X Receptors
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Muscle, Skeletal / drug effects*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism
  • Orphan Nuclear Receptors / agonists*
  • Orphan Nuclear Receptors / genetics
  • Orphan Nuclear Receptors / metabolism
  • Triglycerides / blood


  • Benzoates
  • Benzylamines
  • GW 3965
  • Liver X Receptors
  • Nr1h3 protein, mouse
  • Orphan Nuclear Receptors
  • Triglycerides
  • Cholesterol